If the cover tells you that the book in front of you has been sold for over six million times, you just know that you’ve purchased quality (meanwhile over seven million!). The Story of Art was first published in 1950 by Phaidon and nowadays we may enjoy its 16th revision. Ernst Gombrich managed to write one of the most accessible introductions to the visual arts.
The book is divided into an introduction, 27 chapters each dealing with a defined time period of art history within one or several cultural/geographic contexts, and a concluding chapter summarizing the latest developments in visual arts. The first chapter starts examining art in prehistoric times and native cultures. The next four chapters are dedicated to the greater ancient cultures, especially Greece and Rome. Starting with chapter 8, Gombrich begins to focus on Central European art, returning to a more global view in chapter 24 that deals with art of the late 18th and early 19th century in England, France and America.
Furthermore, The Story of Art is a pleasure to read and a pleasure to handle. The text runs as smoothly as ever and the improved illustrations are always on the page where the reader needs them. More than 50% of the book’s pages contain colour photographs of paintings, drawings, architectural features or sculptures. Those images will allow you to truly relate pieces of art to different art movements and get a better understanding of the history of art.